MARTIN HEIDEGGER

PLATO'S DOCTRINE OF TRUTH

English translation by Thomas Sheehan

Published in Martin Heidegger, Pathmarks, ed. William McNeill Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998 pp. 155-182 (here slightly revised)

[Bracketed page numbers refer to pages in Wegmarken, Gesamtausgabe, Band 9. In that edition, pages 204, 206, 208, 210, and 212 contain the Greek text of the Allegory of the Cave, which is not presented here.]

[203] The knowledge that comes from the sciences is usually expressed in propositions and laid before us as conclusions that we can grasp and put to use. But the "doctrine" of a thinker is that which remains unsaid within what is said, that to which we are exposed so that we might expend ourselves on it. In order to experience and to know henceforth what a thinker left unsaid, whatever that might be, we have to consider what he said. To properly satisfy this demand would entail examining all of Plato's "dialogues" in their interrelationship. Since this is impossible, we may let a different path guide us

to the unsaid in Plato's thinking. What remains unsaid in Plato's thinking is a change in what determines the essence of truth. The fact that this change does take place, what it consists in, and what gets grounded through this transformation of the essence of truth -- all of this can be clarified by an interpretation of the "allegory of the cave." The "allegory of the cave" is presented at the beginning of the seventh book of the "dialogue" on the essence of the B`84H (Republic, VII, 514 a, 2 to 517 a, 7). The "allegory" tells a story. The tale unfolds in the conversation between Socrates and Glaucon. Socrates presents the story, Glaucon shows his awakening astonishment. The translation that we provide for the text includes phrases that go beyond the Greek in an effort to elucidate it; these we have put in parentheses. [end 203] *** [205] “Imagine this: People live under the earth in a cave-like dwelling. Stretching a long way up toward the daylight is its entrance, toward which the entire cave is gathered. The people have been in this dwelling since childhood, shackled by the legs and neck. That is why they also stay in the same place so that the only thing for them to look at is whatever they encounter in front of their faces. But because they are shackled, they are unable to turn their heads around. Some light, to be sure, is allowed them, namely from a fire that casts its glow toward them from behind them, being above and at some distance. Between the fire and those who are shackled (behind their backs, therefore), there runs a walkway at a certain height. Imagine that a low wall has been built along the length of the walkway, like the low curtain that puppeteers put up, over which they show their puppets.” “I see,” he [Glaucon] said. “So now imagine that along this low wall people are carrying all sorts of things that reach up higher than the wall: statues and other carvings made of stone or wood and many other artifacts that people have made. As you would expect, some [of the carriers] are talking to each other (as they walk along) and some are silent. [Glaucon:]“This is an unusual picture that you are presenting here, and these are unusual prisoners.” “They are very much like us humans,” I responded. “What do you think? From the beginning people like this have never managed, whether on their own or with the help by others, to see anything besides the shadows that the glow of the fire (continually) projects on the wall in front of them.” [Glaucon:] “How could it be otherwise,” he said, “since they are forced to keep their heads immobile for their entire lives?”

§n0. and that he also saw more correctly as a consequence of now being turned toward what is more in being? And if someone were (then) to show him any of the things that were passing by. and forced him to answer the question about what it is. “So now." (There are only so many ways one can express agreement in a Platonic dialogue.'" he said.] Literally: to turn his neck around [den Hals zuzuwenden. more literally would be: "'By Zeus. and to look up toward the light.2 Moreover. [Translator's note.” I responded.” he [Glaucon] said. and because of the flickering brightness he would be unable to look at those things whose shadows he saw before.” “Now if they were able to say something about what they saw and to discuss it.” “And now what if this prison also had an echo reverberating off the wall in front of them (the wall that they always and only look at)? Whenever one of the those walking behind the people in chains (and carrying the things) would make a sound. don’t you think that they would regard what they saw on the wall as beings?” [Glaucon:] “They would have to.[207] “And what do they see of the things that are being carried along (behind them)? Don’t they see only these (namely the shadows)?” [Glaucon:] “Certainly. Whenever any one of them was unchained and forced to stand up suddenly. not I.] 1 2 Einsichtlosigkeit: •nD@Fb<0. (If all this were to happen to the prisoner). [Translator's note. “would those who are chained in this way ever consider anything else to be the unhidden except the shadows cast by the artifacts. along with that.) [Translator's note. then. what do you think he would say if someone were to inform him that what he saw before were (mere) trifles but that now he was much nearer to beings.” I replied. “watch the process whereby the prisoners are set free from their chains and. cured of their lack of insight. by Zeus!”1 “In no way. to turn around. [209] don’t you think that he would be at wit's end and in addition would also consider that what he saw before (with his own eyes) is more unhidden than what is now being shown (to him by someone else)?” The Greek. do you think the prisoners would imagine that the speaker were anyone other than the shadow passing in front of them?” [Glaucon:] “Nothing else. BgD4V(g4< JÎ< "b>X<"].] 3 . in each case the person would be able to do this only with pain. consider what sort of lack of insight it must be if the following were to happen to those who were chained. :• )\t @Ûi §(T(t .” “That would absolutely have to be the case.3 to walk.

” [Glaucon:] “Certainly. and the dome itself.” . wouldn’t his eyes be filled with glare. pain and rage? And when he got into the sunlight.“Yes. and moreover that it (the sun) is also the cause of all those things that the people (who dwell below in the cave) in some way have before their eyes. not just at its reflection. if it is a matter of grasping with one's eyes what is up there (outside the cave. in the light of the sun). however. but at the sun itself. if someone. “And if someone even forced him to look into the glare of the fire. absolutely. And (in this process of getting accustomed) he would first and most easily be able to look at shadows and thereafter at the images of people and of other things as they are reflected in water. “at least not right away.” he said. But within the range of such things. by this time he would also be able to gather the following about it (the sun): that it is what grants both the seasons and the years and what governs everything that there is in the (now) visible region (of sunlight).” “It would obviously take some getting accustomed. whether in water or wherever else it might appear. “that he would get to these (the sun and whatever stands in its light) after he had gone out beyond those (that are merely reflections and shadows). Later. it might be easier for him to contemplate whatever there is in the heavenly dome.) than by looking at the sun and its glare during the day.” he said. however.” he said. would n’t the one who had been dragged like this feel.” “It is obvious. that is to say. I think. (easier. using force. were to drag him (who had been freed from his chains) away from there and to pull him up the cave's rough and steep ascent and not let go of him until he had dragged him out into the light of the sun. and wouldn’t he then turn away and flee (back) to what he is capable of looking at? And wouldn’t he decide that (what he could see before without any help) is in fact clearer than what is now being shown to him?” “Precisely.” “It would necessarily happen this way. “Now. by doing so at night by looking at the light of the stars and the moon. in the process. instead of their dim reflections). wouldn’t his eyes hurt him.” [211] “But I think that finally he would be in a condition to look at the sun itself. and to contemplate of what sort it is. as it is in and of itself and in the place proper to it. “And having done all that.” he said. wouldn’t he therefore be incapable of seeing anything that is now revealed to him as the unhidden?” “He would be entirely incapable of doing that. he would be able to view the things themselves (the beings.” he said.

wouldn’t he find in that case.” he said.e. an adjustment that would require quite a bit of time -. will they not actually kill him?” “They certainly will. and if they could kill him. Literally: "those who were chained with him in those days" [der damals mit ihm Gefesselten / Jä< J`Jg FL<*gF:TJä<]. coming suddenly out of the sunlight.” “However. and which ones at the same time. and so it certainly does not pay to go up? And if they can get hold of this person who undertakes to free them from their chains and to lead them up.e.” he said. “that he would prefer to endure everything rather than be that kind of human being (the cave-dwelling kind).wouldn’t he then be exposed to ridicule down there? And wouldn’t they let him know that. the cave) certain honors and commendations were established for whoever most clearly catches sight of what passes by (i.] 4 .” “And now. and for whoever (then) could most easily predict which ones might come next -. if (among the people) in the previous dwelling place (i. he said..” I responded. that his eyes ere filled with darkness?" “Yes.. and by contrast feel sorry for them?” [Glaucon:] “Very much so.while his eyes are still weak and before they have readjusted.“And then what? If he again recalled his first dwelling.do you think that he (who had gotten out of the cave) would (now still) envy those (in the cave) and want to compete with those (there) who are esteemed and have power? Or wouldn’t he much rather wish upon himself the condition that Homer speaks of: ‘To live on the land (above ground) as the [213] paid menial of another destitute peasant’? And won’t he prefer to put up with absolutely anything else rather than associate himself with those opinions (that hold in the cave) and be that kind of human being?” “I think. he had gone up but only in order to come back (into the cave) with his eyes ruined. “consider this: If this person who had gotten out of the cave were to go back down again and sit in the same place as before. and the ‘knowing’ that passes as the norm there. yes. things that happen every day) and also best remembers which ones normally come first. “If he now once more had to engage himself with those who had remained shackled there in the business of asserting and maintaining opinions about the shadows -. which ones later. very much so.4 don’t you think he would consider himself lucky because of the transformation (that had happened). and the people with whom he once was chained. [Translator's note.

*** .

In Greek "visible form" is gÊ*@H or Æ*g". they would immediately experience this unaccustomed turning around of their gaze as a disruption of customary behavior and of current opinion." The fire in the cave..what they can immediately see. Generally they never suspect that it is always and only in the light of the "ideas" that they see everything that passes so easily and familiarly for the "real. even though it has the consistency of shadows. for there in the cave one is in clear and complete possession of the real. compute -." According to Plato. what they presume to be exclusively and properly the real -. is rejected." According to Plato. that is to say. They live in a prison and leave all "ideas" behind them.h. "the real" ["das Wirkliche"].. gods -. and the same with every being." were suddenly.e." . In fact. hear. and consequently a shadow. assigned to the earth and bound to it. i. present-unto [An-. i. they consider that this everyday region under the dome of the heavens is the arena of the experience and judgment that provide the sole standard for all things and relations and that fix the only rules of their disposition and arrangement. *Æ ÐRgTH n"4<@:g<0< ª*k"<.e. In this cave-like dwelling they feel that they are "in the world" and "at home" and here they find what they can rely on. d. On the other hand. are a concrete illustration of the "ideas. to glance back at the fire whose radiance produces the shadows of the things being carried back and forth. which (in an everyday way) is revealed to sight as we look around. which burns above those who dwell there." For him the "visible form" has in addition something of a "stepping forth" whereby a thing "presents" itself. What surrounds and concerns them there [214] is.always remains a mere adumbration of the idea. considered in the terms of the "allegory. The vault of the cave represents the dome of the heavens.What does this story mean? Plato himself provides the answer: he has the interpretation immediately follow the story (517 a8 to 518 d7). grasp. In the "allegory" the things that are visible in the daylight outside r the cave. "the place of x r our dwelling. while still within the cave. [215] Now if human beings.living beings. herzu -wesen]. The cave-like abode is the "image" for J0< . to be adopted while still within the cave. holds humans captive day after day. according to Plato.they would never be able to perceive this or that as a house. This. 1942: "Being present-to. . People live under this dome. the things that the "allegory" mentions as visible outside the cave are the image for what the proper being of beings [das eigentlich Seiende des Seienden] consists in. And since in no way do they recognize this prison for what it is. . that which is. as a tree. is that whereby beings show up in their "visible form" Plato does not regard this "visible form" as a mere "aspect. numbers.5 Standing in its "visible form" the being itself shows itself. as a god. the respective "appearance" of things -. where sight is free to look at everything. That which is nearest. The people in the cave are so passionately attached to their "view" that 5 Heidegger's note in the Geistige Überlieferung edition. for them. Usually they think they see this house and that tree directly. is the "image" for the sun. if people did not have these "ideas" in view. humans. the mere suggestion of such a strange stance.

even though this fire is merely something "man-made" and hence should be familiar to human beings. either to the light or to the dark. so likewise the soul. between the radiance of the cave fire and the light in which the habitual and closest "reality" stands. but where initially people are not adequate to the essential.they are incapable of even suspecting the possibility that what they take for the real might have the consistency of mere shadows. the eyes experience confusion. In its brightness things that have grown and are present show themselves immediately without needing adumbrations to represent them. What happens in these movements of passage? What makes these events possible? From what do they derive their necessity? What issue is at stake in these passages? The movements of passing out of the cave into the daylight and then back from there into the cave require in each case that the eyes accustom themselves to the change from darkness to brightness and from brightness back to darkness. On the other hand people can fall out of the stance of essential knowing and be forced back into the region where common reality reigns supreme. has to accustom itself to the region of beings to which it is exposed. but without their being able to recognize what is common and customary there as being the real. But why does this process of getting accustomed to each region have to be slow and steady? . which one translates with the "literal" but quite misleading phrase "the idea of the y r good. The movements that it recounts are [216] movements of passage out of the cave into the daylight and then back out of the daylight into the cave. the sunlight outside the cave is in no way a product of human making. Rather than just reporting on the dwelling places and conditions of people inside and outside the cave. By contrast. between the things outside the cave and the ideas. "Two kinds of confusion come about for the eyes." The allegorical correspondences that we have just now enumerated--between the shadows and reality as experienced everyday. indeed for opposite reasons in each case: *4JJ"Â 6"Â •BÎ *4JJä< (4(<@<J"4 ¦B4J"k">g4> Ð::"F4< (518 r r a2). is called º J@L •("h@Ø Æ*g". and for two reasons. And just as the physical eye must accustom itself. patiently and through an appropriate series of steps. But this process of getting accustomed requires that before all else the soul in its entirety be turned around as regards the fundamental direction of its striving. between the sun and the highest idea -." But in the sun in the "allegory" is the "image" for that which makes all ideas visible. It is the "image" for the idea of all ideas. according to Plato. in the same way as the eye can look comfortably in whatever direction only when the whole body has first assumed the appropriate position. in so doing." This means that there are two possibilities. Each time. On the one hand people can leave their hardly noticed ignorance and get to where beings show themselves to them more essentially. But how could they know about shadows when they do not even want to be aware of the fire in the cave and its light. In the "allegory" the things that show themselves are the "image" for the "ideas. the "allegory" recounts a series of movements." In fact the proper dimension of it has not even come into our grasp yet. This latter.these correspondences do not exhaust the content of the "allegory. slowly and steadily at first.

and we have to forget the misinterpretation to which it fell victim in the late nineteenth century. On the one hand formation means forming people in the sense of impressing on them a character that unfolds. The German word Bildung ["education. "And r r r x r r r r r r after that. the "allegory" not only illustrates the essence of education but at the same time opens our eyes to a transformation in the essence of "truth. and where no normative proto-type is put forth. try to conjure up for yourself from the kind [218] of experience (to be presented in the following story) a view (of the essence) both of 'education’ and of the lack of education. The "allegory of the cave" concentrates its explanatory power on making us able to see and know the essence of by means of the concrete images recounted in the story. of course. r r –Bg468"F@< J@4@LJå B"hg4 J0< º:gJgk"< nLF4< B"4*g4"H Jg Bgk4 6"4 •B"4*gLF4"H. in fact. r As Plato defines its essence. The word does not lend itself to being translated. but not entirely. must it not be the case that an essential relation holds between "education" and "truth"? This relation does. In this case." If the "allegory" can show both. B"4*g4" means the Bgk4"(T(¬ Ó80H J-H RLP-H. Thus at one and the same time "formation" means impressing a character on people and guiding people by a paradigm. According to our interpretation. obtain. But at the same time this "forming" of people "forms" (or impresses a character on) people by antecedently taking measure in terms of some paradigmatic image. guiding the whole r human being in turning around his or her essence. r namely from •B"4*gLF4" into B"4*g4". And it consists in the fact that the essence of truth and the sort of transformation it undergoes here first make possible "education" in . gÍB@<. The contrary of B"4*g4" is •B"4*gLF4". Hence B"4*g4" is essentially a movement of passage. Bildung ["formation"] means two things." By contrast. Are we not then burdening the "allegory" with something foreign to it? The interpretation threatens to degenerate into a reinterpretation that does violence to the text. r r B"4*g4" remains always related to •B"4*gLF4". On the contrary." Plato's assertion is clear: The "allegory of the cave" illustrates the essence of "education. That the "allegory of the cave" is meant to illustrate the essence of B"4*g4" is stated clearly enough in the very sentence with r which Plato introduces the story at the beginning of Book Seven: 9gJ" J"ØJ" *0. he wants to show that the essence of B"4*g4" does not consist in r merely pouring knowledge into the unprepared soul as if it were some container held out empty and waiting. the interpretation of the "allegory" that we are now going to attempt intends to point out the Platonic "doctrine" of truth. This means that the normative bearing that is to result from this turning around must unfold from a relation that already sustains our essence.The reason is that the turning around has to do with one's being and thus takes place in the very ground of one's essence. lack of formation. genuine education takes hold of our very soul and transforms it in its entirety by first of all leading us to the place of our essential being and accustoming us to it." literally r r "formation"] comes closest to capturing the word B"4*g4". Let this appearance stand until we have confirmed our insight that Plato's thinking subjects itself to a transformation in the essence of truth that becomes the hidden law governing what the thinker says. At the same time Plato seeks to avoid false interpretations. which (as belonging together) concern the very foundation of our being as humans. and develop into a stable comportment. where no r r fundamental bearing is awakened and unfolded. which is rendered necessary by a future need. [217] This process whereby the human essence is reoriented and accustomed to the region assigned to it at each point is the essence of what Plato calls B"4*g4". we r need to restore to Bildung its original power as a word. In keeping with its character as a movement of passage. which for that reason is called the proto-type [Vor-bild].

But the "allegory" recounts a story of passages from one dwelling place to another. people live chained inside the cave. [219] But if we are not satisfied with merely translating the words B"4*g4" and •80hg4" "literally." Stage two tells about the removal of the chains." And r for a long time now in Western thinking. r In stage one. as well as the way in which it has been manifest. then straightaway "education" and "truth" come together into an essential unity. a word that we translate as "truth. namely.its basic structures. the different kinds of "truth" that are dominant at each stage. As long as one encounters nothing but shadows. The “unhidden” and its “unhiddenness” designate at each point what is present and manifest in the region where human beings happen to dwell. For that reason. has to be transformed. "a little nearer to what r is. Those who before looked only at shadows now come :•88@< J4 ¦((LJgkT J@Ø Ð<J@H (515 d2). But what is it that links "education" and "truth" together into an original and essential unity? A"4*g4" means turning around the whole human being. The description of this dwelling place ends with the emphatic sentence: B"<J"B"F4 *0 . "truth" has meant the agreement of the representation in thought with the thing itself: adaequatio intellectus et rei. Now they can turn around in every direction." The answer will show both the fact that and the way in which the "allegory" deals with the essence of truth. these hold one's gaze captive and thus insinuate themselves in place of the things ." if r r instead we attempt to think through the issue according to the Greek way of knowing and to ponder the essential matter that is at stake in these translations. If we take seriously the essential content of what the word •8hg40" r names. This transfer is possible only by the fact that everything that has been heretofore manifest to huamn beings. Thus this story is divided in a general way into a series of four different dwelling places in specific gradations of up and down. Whatever has been unhidden to human beings at any given time. The distinctions between the dwelling places and stages within the movement of passage are grounded in the different kinds of •80hgH normative at each r level. in one way or another we have to think out and designate what the •80hgH. "In r r r r r r no way. those imprisoned are now free in a certain sense..@4g< J@ •80hgH ´ J"H Jä< F6gL"FJä< F64"H (515 c1-2). would those who are chained like this ever consider anything else to be the unhidden except the shadows cast by the artifacts. then we must ask: From what perspective does Plato approach his determination of the essence of unhiddenness? For the answer to this question we are referred to the proper content of the "allegory of the cave. in the glow of the man-made fire of the cave. It means removing human beings from r the region where they first encounter things and transferring and accustoming them to another realm where beings appear. then." The things themselves offer their visible form in a certain way. is at each stage. that is. r r @4 J@4@ØJ@4 @Û6 –< –88@ J4 <@:4. unhiddenness is called •80hg4". In Greek. as well as the manner of its unhiddenness.. Although still confined to the cave. gets transformed. It becomes possible to see the very things that were [220] previously carried along behind them. the unhidden. engrossed in what they immediately encounter. and they are no longer hidden by the shadows they project.

in the corresponding and equally r important discussion at the beginning of Book VI of The Republic. the ideas). which is also seen. While it is true that Plato does not use that word at this point in r r the text.would remain hidden.. The things themselves stand there in the binding force and validity of their own appearance. absolutely everything -. and now in the comparative degree: •80hgFJgk". namely.themselves. Certainly removing the chains brings a sort of [221] liberation." And r yet it must be said of him who has been freed: º(g4Fh"4 J" J@Jg ÒkT:g<" •80hgFJgk" ´ J" <Ø< x r r r x *g46<L:g<" (ibid. But when one's gaze is freed from its captivity to shadows. Here someone who has been unshackled is at the same time conveyed outside the cave "into the open.in fact." The r more proper "truth" is to be found in the shadows. cast by the light from this very fire.. what they see in the reflected light of the still unseen and unknown fire. the open sets boundaries to things and is the binding power characteristic of the brightness radiating from the sunlight. the gË*0 (ideas). rather. any and all specific things -. but being let loose is not yet real freedom. the "more unhidden. There (484 c5 ff.) he mentions .. constitute the essence in whose light each individual being shows itself as this or that." There above ground all things are manifest. it becomes possible for the person who has been freed to enter the area of what is •80hgFJgk" (515 d6). the most unhidden." This unhidden is •80hgFJgk". Real freedom is attained only in stage three." The most unhidden r r shows itself in each case in the whatness of a being." Why is this so? The glow of the fire. "more unhidden." Therefore the word •80hgH occurs again at the end of the r description of stage two. gÆH JÎ •80hgFJ"J@< •B@$8gB@<JgH. by someone else in fact). "those who gaze upon the most unhidden. the shadows. but all these appear only in confusion. Therefore right at the beginning of his description of stage three Plato speaks of Jä< <Ø< 8g(@:g<T< •80hä< (516 a3). because they lack the prior condition for "assessing. "of what is now addressed as the r unhidden. Certainly those who have been liberated now see other things besides the shadows.). and only in this self-showing does the appearing thing become unhidden and accessible. "The most . This blinding hinders them from seeing the fire itself and from apprehending how its glow illuminates the things and thus lets these things appear for the first time. defined in terms of what is normatively and properly unhidden at this level. The unhidden that has now been reached is the most unhidden of all: J" •80hgFJ"J". freedom. to which their eyes are not accustomed. The looks that show what things themselves are. The level of dwelling that has now been reached is." namely.e. appears in sharp outline. By contrast. he does mention JÎ •80hgFJ"J@<. blinds those who have been liberated. Because it can be seen without confusion. this consistency with which the shadows appear must strike those who have been freed as being "more unhidden. The looks that show what things are now no longer appear merely in the man-made and confusing glow of the fire within the cave. That is why those who have been blinded cannot comprehend that what they previously saw were merely shadows of those things. even more unhidden than were the things illuminated by the r man-made fire in the cave in distinction to the shadows. So even those who have been freed from their chains still assess wrongly in what they posit as true. like the others. The open into which the freed prisoner has now been placed does not mean the unboundedness of some wide-open space. Without such a self-showing of the whatness (i. "He will consider that (the shadows) he saw before (without any help) are more r unhidden than what is now being shown (to him.

i. it was. Admittedly the word •80hgH is no longer used in this part of the story." . The unhidden must be torn away from a hiddenness. Freedom exists only as the orientation that is structured in this way. with the description of the highest level attained in the ascent out of the cave. But two factors are essential to the unhidden: not only does it in some way or other render accessible whatever appears and keep it revealed in its appearing. the danger of being overcome by the claim of the common "reality" to be the only reality. as is often supposed."where the story comes to a conclusion.the shadows -already mentioned in stage one? Yes. it must in a sense be stolen from hiddenness. to shift one's gaze from the shadows to the glow of the fire and to focus on the things manifest in firelight was a difficult task that proved unsuccessful. fragment 123. rather. truth in the proper sense. the "allegory" includes the story of the descent of the freed person back into the cave. Authentic liberation is the steadiness of being oriented toward that which appears in its visible form and which is the most unhidden in this appearing. But the would-be liberator no longer knows his way around the cave and [223] risks the danger of succumbing to the overwhelming power of the kind of truth that is normative there." But because the essence of B"4*g\" consists in the Bgk4"(T(¬ Ð80H J-H RLP-H. The one who has been freed is supposed to lead these people too away from what is unhidden for them and to bring them face to face with the most unhidden. as an 6 Heidegger's note in the Geistige Überlieferung edition. i. the "allegory of the cave" is supposed to clarify the essence of B"4*g\". it first begins as the continuous effort at accustoming one's gaze to be fixed on the firm limits of things that stand fast in their visible form. then insofar as it is such a turning around. and it does not consist in unbridled license. Already within the cave.. of itself makes up stage four of the "allegory. 1942: "Heraclitus.... Liberation does not come about by the simple removal of the chains. the truest. On the contrary. Nonetheless r this stage also has to deal with the unhidden that conditions the area of the cave that the freed person now visits once again. alone fulfills the essence of B"4*g4" as a turning around.unhidden" is so called because it is what [222] appears antecedently in everything that appears. And if. But was not the "unhidden" that is normative in the cave -. A"4*g\" includes r within itself an essential relation back to lack of education. but it also constantly overcomes a hiddenness of the hidden. Hence the telling of the story does not end. the •80hgFJ"J@<." Socrates. and on the basis of.e. then this clarification must also make manifest precisely this essential factor. a possibility that became a reality in the fate of Plato's "teacher. The essence of "education" is grounded in r the essence of "truth. The liberator is threatened with the possibility of being put to death. Thus the fulfillment of the essence of r "education" can be achieved only in the region of. this orientation as a turning toward. and it makes whatever appears be accessible. the most unhidden. Originally for the Greeks6 hiddenness. back to those who are still in chains.. but now being freed into the open that is outside of the cave requires fully every bit of endurance and effort. it constantly remains an overcoming of •B"4*gLF4". the constant overcoming of lack of education. according to Plato's own interpretation. The return into the cave and the battle waged within the cave between the liberator and the prisoners who resist all liberation.e. But what is more.e. i.

despite the entrance. according to Plato's "allegory. For Plato. even though •8Zhg4" is properly experienced in the “allegory of the cave” and is mentioned in it at important points. and that is why the Greek word for what the Romans call "veritas" and for what we call "truth" was distinguished by the alpha-privative (•. hiding away. which was something self-evident for the Greeks. the sunlight and the 7 Heidegger's note in the Geistige Überlieferung edition. Stage four of the "allegory" gives us a special glimpse of the fact that "privation"-. The illustrative power of the "allegory of the cave" does not come from the image of the closedness of the subterranean vault and imprisonment of the people within its confines. However. disguising. permeated the essence of being and thus also determined beings in their presentness and accessibility ("truth"). Only the essence of truth understood in the original Greek sense of •8Zhg4" -the unhiddenness that is related to the hidden (to something dissembled and disguised) -. covering over. Truth7 originally means that which has been wrested from hiddenness. and that which it surrounds and therefore hides. this also implies that unhiddenness still maintains a certain priority. 1942: "[from a] hiding" [Verbergung]. nor does it come from the sight of the open space outside the cave. the unhidden that is spread out in the light above ground.act of self-hiding." stage four also deals with •8Zhg4". both likewise refer to an outside. And yet. 8 Heidegger's note in the Geistige Überlieferung edition. But in all this what are essential are the movements of passage: the ascent from the realm [225] of the light of the man-made fire into the brightness of the sunlight as well as the descent from the source of all light back into the darkness of the cave. . rather. the brightness of day. Therefore. wherever it is not unhiddenness or at least is not co-determined by unhiddenness. in the form of a revealing. masking. for this reason one's movement out of the cave into the open and into the light of day is a life-and-death struggle. Wherever truth has another essence. 1942: "in the sense of that which is true. like each of the three previous stages of the "allegory of the cave. dissembling." along with Plato's own interpretation of it. For what else is the underground cave except something open in itself that remains at the same time covered by a vault and. the unhiddenness of beings. the expository power behind the images of the "allegory" is concentrated on the role played by the fire. The presentation of the "allegory. walled off and enclosed by the surrounding earth? This cave-like enclosure that is open within itself." the supremely unhidden [224] must be wrested from a base and stubborn hiding. Since.attaining the unhidden by wresting it away --belongs to the essence of truth. understands the underground cave and the area outside almost self-evidently as the region within which the story’s events get played out.has an essential relation to this image of an underground cave.8 Truth is thus a wresting away in each case. The hiddenness can be of various kinds: closing off.8Zhg4"). This "allegory" can have the structure of a cave image at all only because it is antecedently codetermined by the fundamental experience of •8Zhg4". there an "allegory of the cave" has no basis as an illustration." [im Sinne des Wahren]. the fire’s glow and the shadows it casts. nonetheless in place of unhiddenness another essence of truth pushes to the fore.

508ff): J@ØJ@ J@\<L< JÎ J¬< •8Zhg4"< B"kXP@< J@ÃH (4(<TF6@:X<@4H 6"Â Jè (4(<fF6@<J4 JZ< *\<":4< •B@*4*Î< J¬< J@Ø •("h@Ø Æ*X"< nVh4 gÇ<"4. in its shining forth. which is set forth in an image: The sun as source of light lends visibility to whatever is seen. but it is considered simply in terms of how it makes whatever appears be accessible in its visible form (gÉ*@H) and in terms of how it makes this visible form. But seeing sees what is visible only insofar as the eye is º84@g4*XH." The "allegory" mentions the sun as the image for the idea of the good. this." . The Æ*X" is that which can shine [das Scheinsame]. its shining.for the gaze focused on the idea -.. thus something that provides vision. as that which shows itself (Æ*X"). What the idea. "In the sphere of what can be known the idea of the good is the r power of visibility that accomplishes all shining forth and that therefore is properly seen only last.the unhidden of that as which the idea appears. i." The adoption of this orientation to the ideas henceforth determines the essence of apprehension [Vernehmung] and subsequently the essence of "reason" ["Vernunft"]. I say. is true esse. it itself is what shines. specifically the coming to presence of what a being is in any given instance. be visible. it becomes "relative" to seeing. In terms of what is at stake. which is imparted in the very brightness of its shining. "Unhiddenness" now refers to the unhidden always as that which is accessible thanks to the idea's ability to shine. The "idea" is the visible form that offers a view of what is present. In what does the essence of this idea consist? As Æ*g" the good is something that shines. Certainly unhiddenness is mentioned in its various stages." unhiddenness is yoked into a "relation" with seeing. in fact: ¦< Jè (<TFJè Jg8gLJ"\" º J@Ø •("h@Ø Æ*g" 6"\ :`(4H Òk•F*"4 (517 b 8). [227] in fact it is hardly (only with great pains) really seen at all. "sun-like" by having the power to participate in the sun's kind of essence. as that which is known ((4(<TFi`:g<@<0 in the act of knowing ((4(<fFig4<). That is why for Plato the proper essence of being consists in whatness.und Sichtsamkeit]. "Thus what provides unhiddenness to the thing known and also gives the power (of knowing) to the knower. A being becomes present in each case in its whatness. But after all. brings into view and thereby lets us see is -. coming to presence is the essence of being. that is.Ã< [226] and <@ØH (apprehending) first get referred essentially to the "idea. the image signifies a relationship that Plato expresses as follows (VI.sun. This unhidden is grasped antecedently and by itself as that which is apprehended in apprehending the Æ*X". essentia." The "idea" does not first let something else (behind it) "shine and appear" [”erscheinen”]. is the idea of the good. The Æ*X" is pure shining in the sense of the phrase "the sun shines. The reflection proper aims at the Æ*X". Even later terminology shows this: quidditas. and not existentia. r thus in turn something visible and hence knowable. The eye itself "emits light" and devotes itself to the shining and in this way is able to receive and apprehend whatever appears.e.L(`< 508 a1) holds the two together? The "allegory of the cave" was written in order to illustrate the answer. Everything depends on the shining forth of whatever appears and on making its visibility possible. But insofar as the access is necessarily carried out through "seeing. This reflection proper focuses on the visible form’s appearing. Thus toward the end of Book VI of the Republic Plato develops the question: What makes the thing seen and the act of seeing be what they are in their relation? What spans the space between them? What yoke (. The visible form provides a view of that as which any given being is present. The essence of the idea consists in its ability to shine and be seen [Schein. it is concerned only with the shining of itself. Only in this Platonic revolution are <@. This is what brings about presencing.

is the name for that distinctive idea which. even though Plato's interpretation of the •("h`< as idea offers the occasion for thinking of "the good" "morally" and ultimately for reckoning it to be a "value. so that from it there also first arises the possibility of all other ideas. 9 . of everything present." Most often we think of it as the "moral good." which is so called because it conforms to the moral law. This interpretation falls outside Greek thought. The good may be called the "highest idea" in a double sense: It is the highest in the hierarchy of making possible. the visible form of [228] something.consists in making possible the appearing." a condition posited by "life itself. as the idea of ideas. and accordingly is itself that which properly appears by shining." Nietzsche has held fast to the essence of •("h`< with much less prejudice than those who go chasing after the absurdity of "intrinsically valid values.in Plato's expression: the idea of all ideas -. in all its visibility. begins to be.e. For this reason Plato calls the •("h`< also J@Ø Ð<J@H n"<`J"J@< (518 c9)." to that extent Nietzsche is the most unrestrained Platonist in the history of Western metaphysics. It brings about the shining of everything that can shine. Thus in Greek thinking the "ideas" enable something to appear in its whatness and thus be present in its stability. which alone can be called "the good. Therefore the idea of ideas is that-which-enables as such. is what enables everything else.We translate JÎ •("h`<9 with the apparently understandable term "the good." This "idea" must naturally be the highest because what matters is that everything run its course in the "good" (in the well-being of prosperity or in the orderliness of an order). what makes every idea be capable as an idea -. because in it the essence of the idea comes to its fulfillment. that which is most able to shine in its shining. This idea. Every Æ*X". However.. Insofar as "value" and interpretation in terms of "values" are what sustains Nietzsche's metaphysics -. provides a look at what a being is in each case.and since for him all knowledge takes its departure from the metaphysical origin of "value. The essence of every idea certainly consists in making possible and enabling the shining that allows a view of the visible form. and seeing it is a very arduous task of looking straight upward. then we find in the "idea of the good" a "value" present somewhere in itself. Therefore. Despite the difficulty of Heidegger's note from the 1947 edition: "The •("h`< is certainly an Æ*X". insofar as he understands value as the condition of the possibility of "life." The notion of value that came into fashion in the nineteenth century in the wake of the modern conception of "truth" is the last and at the same time the weakest offspring of •("h`<." Moreover if we follow modern philosophy and think the essence of the "idea" as perceptio ("subjective representation"). of which in addition we have an "idea. Within this modern way of thinking there is absolutely nothing more to grasp of the original essence of Plato's Æ*X" J@Ø •("h@Ø. i. JÎ •("h`<. deshalb kaum sichtbar].in the absolute form of a "revaluation of all values" -. aber nicht mehr anwesend. The ideas are what is in everything that is. In Greek thought JÎ •("h`< means that which is capable of something and enables another to be capable of something." The expression "the idea of the good" -." [•("h`< zwar Æ*X". and therefore hardly visible. but no longer present-unto." remains Æ*X" Jg8gLJ"\".which is all too misleading for modern thinking -. "that which most shines (the most able to shine) of beings.

The highest idea is the origin. However. And yet the fact remains that this "allegory" contains Plato's "doctrine" of truth. above all. i. namely. "The good" grants the appearing of the visible form in which whatever is present has its stability in what it is. unfold from its proper and essential fullness but rather shifts to the essence of the Æ*X". And thus the very essence of B"4*g\" consists in making the human being free and strong for the clarity and constancy of insight into essence. to drop the metaphor. The essence of truth gives up its fundamental trait of unhiddenness. the being is held within being and thus is "saved.or. visibility and thus "unhiddenness. by its shining the sun not only bestows brightness upon everything that appears. namely. the idea that. he points to something unsaid. "she herself is mistress in that she bestows unhiddenness (on what shows itself) and at the same time imparts apprehension (of what is unhidden). before all else. The "allegory" puts into images what Plato says about Æ*X" J@Ø •("h@Ø. whose essence still lies hidden.gathered together (from the highest idea itself) -. and even though here. then FL88@(4FJX" gÉ<"4 fH –k" B•F4 BV<JT< "àJ0 Ïkhä< Jg 6"\ 6"8ä< "ÆJ\" (517 c). Now since.that is. once the highest idea is caught sight of." z!8Zhg4" comes under the yoke of the Æ*X". Through this granting." But not just that. must be called "the good" in the Greek sense. is the image for the unrecognized ground of any experiencing of beings that intends them without knowing them as such. and yet even [229] the shadows live off its light. Nevertheless. Within the cave the sun remains invisible. as the essence of unhiddenness.. "then one may draw the conclusion -. insofar as it is the enabling of the essence of idea. that henceforth the essence of truth does not.properly grasping it.that obviously for all people this [idea of the good] is the original source [Ur-sache] both of all that is right (in human comportment) and of all that is beautiful" -. either in personal matters or in public affairs. that "ÛJ¬ 6Lk\" •8Zhg4"< 6"4 <@Ø< B"k"FP@:X<0 (517 c4). and. At the same time its shining radiates warmth and by this glowing enables everything that "comes to be" to go forth into the visibility of its stable duration (509 b)." Whoever wants to act and has to act in a world determined by "the ideas" needs. [230] it also must recount the ascent to the vision of the highest idea. "that anyone who is concerned to act with prudential insight. along with that brightness. they are still unaware that this fire is only an offspring (§i(@<@<. granted the essence of idea. But is it not the case that the "allegory of the cave" deals specifically with •8Zhg4"? Absolutely not. of that which manifests itself to comportment in such a way as to bring the shining of its visible form to appearance. But the fire in the cave. VI 507 a3) of the sun. the "allegory of the cave" is supposed to provide a concrete image of the essence of B"4*g\". Even where people see only the shadows." As regards all forms of prudential insight informing practical activity. must have this in view (namely. there too the fire's glow must already be shining. somehow always constantly stands in view wherever any beings at all show themselves.e. When Plato says of the Æ*X" that she is the mistress that allows unhiddenness. this idea which. according to Plato's own interpretation. for the "allegory" is grounded in the unspoken event whereby Æ*X" gains dominance over •8Zhg4". which makes possible an apprehending of the shadows that is unaware of its own essence. a view of the ideas. is called the good). even though people do not properly grasp this shining and experience it as coming from the fire. once the sun itself is truly seen (ÏnhgÃF"*X) -. the original source [Ur-sache] of all "things" ["Sachen"] and their thingness [Sachheit]. . it follows from the essence of the highest idea ÐJ4 *gà J"bJ0< Æ*gÃ< JÎ< :X88@<J" z:nk`<TH BkV>g4< ´ Æ*\‘ ´ *0:@F\‘ (517 g c4/5).

What results from this conforming of apprehension. truth is still a fundamental trait of beings themselves. The guiding thought is that the highest idea yokes together the act of knowing and what it knows. "the mistress who bestows unhiddenness as well as apprehension. Nevertheless in a certain way Plato has to hold on to "truth" as still a characteristic of beings. as most of all and most purely shining of and from itself. and being brings unhiddenness with it." then all our efforts must be concentrated above all on making such seeing possible. they direct their gaze to that which. to the Æ*X" is a Ò:@\TF4H. First of all. "and thus turned to what is more in being. the seeing of the "visible form. As unhiddenness. Everything depends on the Ïkh`J0H. The ambiguity is quite clearly manifested in the fact that whereas •8Zhg4" is what is named and discussed.e. and toward what is correct and toward the correctness of seeing." it becomes a characteristic of human comportment toward beings. Thus. an agreement of the act of knowing with [231] the thing itself. as an Æ*gÃ<. such that •8Zhg4" would correspond to the ÏkhV (what is correct) [232] and <@ØH (apprehending) would correspond to the 6"8V (what is beautiful). shows the visible form . seeing or knowing becomes something correct so that in the end it looks directly at the highest idea and fixes itself in this "direct alignment. and therefore normatively.. it is Ïkh`J0H that is meant and that is posited as normative -. But at the same time. for the essence of the beautiful lies in being X6n"<XFJ"J@< (cf. apprehending conforms itself to what is to be seen: the "visible form" of the being. Through this correctness. Phaedrus). the correctness of apprehending and asserting. With this transformation of the essence of truth there takes place at the same time a change of the locus of truth. theinquiry into what is unhidden shifts in the direction of the appearing of the visible form. Already within the cave. Truth becomes Ïkh`J0H. the correctness of the gaze. has being precisely by appearing. "the original source (i. they should certainly see more correctly. there is correct apprehension." The movement of passage from one place to the other consists in the process whereby the gaze becomes more correct." In so directing itself. Plato says: º J@Ø •("h@Ø [the idea of the good] is BV<JT< Ïkhä< Jg 6"4 6"8ä< "ÆJ\". when those who have been liberated turn away from the shadows and turn toward the things. the correspondence works in crisscross fashion. But as the correctness of the "gaze. Corresponding to the ÏkhV. For this reason there is a necessary ambiguity in Plato's doctrine." But then it is said that the idea of the good is 6Lk\" •8Zhg4"< 6"Â <@Ø<. as something present. And that requires the correct vision.and all this in a single train of thought. because a being. the priority of Æ*X" and of Æ*gÃ< over •8Zhg4" results in a transformation in the essence of truth. The ambiguity in the determination of the essence of truth can be seen in a single sentence taken from the section that contains Plato's own interpretation of the "allegory of the cave" (517 b7 to c5). But this relation is understood in two ways. and consequently toward the act of seeing that is ordered to the visible form. and corresponding to what is beautiful there is the unhidden. the enabling of the essence) of everything correct as well as of everything beautiful. "is more in being”: BkÎH :•88@< Ð<J" JgJk"::X<@H Ïkh`Jgk@< $8XB@4 (515 d3/4).If our comportment with beings is always and everywhere a matter of the Æ*gÃ< of the Æ*X". This is precisely what attests to the heretofore unsaid but now sayable change in the essence of truth. in comparison with the mere shadows. what is correct and its correctness." These two assertions do not run parallel to each other. Rather. that which.

falsifies the real. Nietzsche's concept of truth displays the last glimmer of the most extreme consequence of the change of truth from the unhiddenness of beings to the correctness of the gaze . although unhiddenness already stands under the yoke of the Æ*X"." And in the age when the modern era enters its fulfillment Nietzsche sharpens the previous thesis still further when he says. indeed necessarily." sets up as the supposedly real something that does not correspond -. The Will to Power. E.) If for Nietzsche truth is a kind of error. In the final analysis. 1051 a34 ff.and thus is unhidden. something incorrect and thus erroneous.. As evidence of that. Both sentences speak of the primacy of the idea of the good as enabling both the correctness of knowing and the unhiddenness of the known. . Opuscula posthuma X. But Aristotle can also say @Û (Vk zFJ4 JÎ RgØ*@H 6"Â JÎ •80hg z< J@ÃH g xH g :kV(:"F4<. The assertion is called true insofar as it conforms to the state of affairs and thus is Ï:@\TFH. 10. number 493. on the contrary •8Zhg4". specifically insofar as every act of representing halts the continual "becoming" and..•88’ z< *4"<@\‘ (Metaphysics. Nietzsche's determination of truth as the incorrectness of thinking is in agreement with the traditional essence of truth as the correctness of assertion (8`(@H). "In fact." The intellect’s judgment and assertion is now the place of truth and falsehood and of the difference between them. [233] Thomas Aquinas’ thesis holds good for medieval scholasticism: veritas proprie invenitur in intellectu humano vel divino (Quaestiones de veritate.. articulus 4.e. 4. whether human or divine. but in the understanding. In the closing chapter of Book IX of the Metaphysics (Metaphysics. unhiddenness is the all-controlling fundamental trait of beings.)." The intellect is where truth has its essential locus. In this text truth is no longer •8Zhg4" but Ï:@\TF4H (adaequatio). The same ambiguity in the determination of the essence of truth still prevails in Aristotle as well. Here truth still is. of the false in the sense of the incorrect). This determination of the essence of truth no longer contains an appeal to •8Zhg4" in the sense of unhiddenness. responsio): "Truth is properly encountered in the intellect. now taken as the opposite of RgØ*@H (i. then its essence consists in a way of thinking that always. From now on this characterization of the essence of truth as the correctness of both representation and assertion becomes normative for the whole of Western thinking. at one and the same time. 1. quaestio I.. the value for life is what is decisive. At the beginning of modern times Descartes sharpens the previous thesis by saying: veritatem proprie vel falsitatem non nisi in solo intellectu esse posse (Regulae ad directionem ingenii. "Truth or falsehood in the proper sense can be nowhere else but in the intellect alone. 396). in erecting its established facts against the flow of "becoming. the false and the true are g not in things (themselves) . let it suffice to cite the guiding theses that typify how the essence of truth is characterized in the main epochs of metaphysics. unhiddenness and correctness. . is thought of as correctness.i. . 1027 b25 ff. The change itself is brought about in the determination of the being of beings (in Greek: the being present of what is present) as Æ*X".e. "Truth is the kind of error without which a certain kind of living being could not live. Regula VIII.) where Aristotelian thinking on the being of beings reaches its peak." (Note from the year 1885.

is a difference of F@n\"." . perdures.. But even as such the Æ*X" still lays claim to something of the original but unacknowledged essence of •8Zhg4". Since Plato. Plato first appropriated the word as a name for the specific astuteness about beings that at the same time defines the being of beings as idea. as a consequence of being yoked under the idea. Properly speaking F@n\" means being astute about that which is present as the unhidden and which. is distinguished by the desire to reach out beyond what is immediately present and to acquire a basis in that which. perdures. fragment 112." This F@n\". This latter strives solely and above all else to glimpse the being of beings in the "ideas.As a consequence of this interpretation of beings. the opposite is the case: it is the shining (the self-showing) that." The difference between the two abodes. The reflection on B"4*g\" and the change in the essence of •8Zhg4" belong together and belong within the same tale of the passage from one abode to another. However. the Æ*X" is the ground that makes •8Zhg4" possible.is not the presenting foreground of •8Zhg4"" ["Die Æ*X" ist nicht ein darstellender Vordergrund der •8Zhg4" . the one inside and the one outside the cave." which bestow the unhidden.] 10 11 Heidegger's note in the Geistige Überlieferung edition. from that point on. being skilled at something. Outside the cave F@n\" is n48@F@n\". [235] The kind of astuteness that is normative down there in the cave -. Æ*X" is not subordinate to unhiddenness in the sense of serving what is unhidden by bringing it to appearance."philosophy. as present. what matters in all our fundamental orientations toward beings is the achieving of a correct view of the ideas. Rather. . and henceforth it will be a characteristic of the knowing of beings." because it is a matter of gazing up at the "ideas.10 rather. being present is no longer what it was in the beginning of Western thinking: [234] the emergence of the hidden into unhiddenness. The Æ*X" is not some foreground that •8Zhg4" puts out front to present things. Heraclitus. as revealing. as it was qua unhiddenness. In itself this F@n\" is a predilection for and friendship with (n48\") the "ideas.. in contrast to the one in the cave. may yet be called unhiddenness. It means inhering within an abode that everywhere and primarily has a hold in what perdures. the tale that is recounted in the "allegory of the cave. truth has become correctness. 1942: "Cf. the distinguishing mark of what is later called "metaphysics. . the fundamental trait of being itself. The Greek language already knew this word before the time of Plato and used it in general to name the predilection for correct astuteness. Ever since. thinking about the being of beings has become -." But the "philosophy" that begins with Plato has. [Translator's note. where unhiddenness itself. in showing itself. constitutes the fundamental trait of being present."]." Plato himself concretely More literally: ".is surpassed by another F@n\".º ¦6gà F@n\" (516 c5) -. In general this word means being astute about something. there has been a striving for "truth" in the sense of the correctness of the gaze and of the correctness of its direction. Truth is no longer. Plato conceives being present (@ÛF4") as Æ*X". Instead. Ever since. within its essence and in a singular self-relatedness.11 Astuteness is not the equivalent of merely possessing knowledge.

and in the end of metaphysics." This highest and first cause is named by Plato and correspondingly by Aristotle JÎ hgÃ@<. as the development of their reason. namely. to the liberation of their possibilities. nor as a reawakening or imitation of antiquity. the "ideas. because it is the being-est of beings. In this case theology means the interpretation of the "cause" of beings as God and the transferring of being onto this cause. sometimes the individual or the community. in differing respects but always deliberately. it is therefore also "the idea" that is called "the good. within that sphere. whether in narrower or wider orbits. seen with a nonsensuous gaze. of course without thereby being the highest being. This same interpretation of being as Æ*X". Here "human being" sometimes means humanity or humankind. Because this "idea" is thereby the cause of everything.and likewise unconditioned -. Thus Plato's doctrine of "truth" is not something that is past. With the fulfillment of metaphysics. Concern with human being and with the position of humans amidst beings entirely dominates metaphysics. and to lead them." In fact the coining of the word "metaphysics" is already prefigured in Plato's presentation. this change in the essence of truth is present as the all-dominating fundamental reality -. which owes its primacy to a change in the essence of •8Zhg4". remains the cause of the subsistence and the appearing of all beings. It is historically "present. which cannot be grasped with our bodily organs. not even as the mere preservation of what has been handed down. Corresponding to this distinction is B"4*g\". And the highest in the region of the suprasensuous is that idea which." This takes place as the shaping of their "moral" behavior.illustrates the basic outline of metaphysics in the story recounted in the "allegory of the cave." not just in the sense that his teachings have a "later effect" that historians can calculate. What is always at stake is this: to take "human beings. as the awaking of their civic sense. or as an appropriate combination of some or all of these "humanisms. and metaphysics has been theological. as the unfolding of their creative powers."positions. which contains being in itself and dispenses being from out of itself. In the passage (516) that depicts the adaptation of the gaze to the ideas. to the certitude of their destiny. move into a central place among beings." Plato's thinking follows the change in the essence of truth. whereby human beings. which in Nietzsche's thinking has entered upon its unconditioned fulfillment. as the nourishing of their personalities." who within the sphere of a fundamental. Rather." These are the suprasensuous. in the unfolding. requires that viewing the ideas be accorded high distinction. In that regard "humanism" means the process that is implicated in the beginning. and goes gÂH J"ØJ". Ever since being got interpreted as Æ*X"." What takes place in each instance is a metaphysically determined revolving around the human being. thinking about the being of beings [236] has been metaphysical. as the idea of all ideas. a change that becomes the history of metaphysics. Plato says (516 c3): Thinking goes :gJz ¦6gÃ<". the divine. the "education" of human beings. and sometimes the people [das Volk] or a group of peoples. "beyond" those things that are experienced merely in the form of mere shadows and images. and to the securing of their "life. metaphysically established system of beings are defined as animal rationale. "out toward" these things. "humanism" (or [237] in "Greek" terms: anthropology) also presses on to the most extreme -. they are the being of beings. as the salvation of their immortal souls.long established and thus still in . The beginning of metaphysics in the thought of Plato is at the same time the beginning of "humanism. as the cultivation of their bodies." Here the word must be thought in its essence and therefore in its broadest sense.

of the ever-advancing world history of the planet in this most modern of modern times. The story recounted in the "allegory of the cave" provides a glimpse of what is really happening in the history of Western humanity. unhiddenness remains harnessed to a relation to looking. The positive must first be experienced as the fundamental trait of being itself." That which alone and first of all is decisive is not which ideas and which values are posited. No attempt to ground the essence of unhiddenness in "reason. nicht für veritas. End First edition." "spirit. apprehending." . Through this decision the lines are always already drawn regarding what. not for veritas. What always gets "clarified" is merely some essential consequence of the uncomprehended essence of unhiddenness. namely as yoked under the Æ*X". What is first required is an appreciation of the "positive" in the "privative" essence of •8Zhg4"." ["Die •8Zhg4" ist ein Name für esse.the essence of hiddenness itself -.is still not adequately sought out. recollection of [238] the original essence of truth must think this essence more originally." can ever rescue the essence of unhiddenness. what is to be grounded -. As Plato conceives it." that the "world" is weighed at all according to "values."] [Translator's note. als das Seyn]." "logos. but rather the fact that the real is interpreted at all according to "ideas. Unhiddenness12 reveals itself to this recollection as the fundamental trait of beings themselves. is sought after and established as true and likewise what is thrown away and passed over as untrue. as beyng [d.13 Nonetheless. both now and in the future: Taking the essence of truth as the correctness of the representation." Meanwhile we have recollected the original essence of truth." "thinking. Whatever happens with historical human beings comes in each case from a decision about the essence of truth that happened long ago and is never up to humans alone. the original essence of truth still lies in its hidden origin. Therefore. Because this exigency stands before us.h. 1947: "that is. First of all what must break in upon us is that exigency whereby we are compelled to question not just beings in their being but first of all being itself (that is. such recollection can never take over unhiddenness merely in Plato's sense. To follow this relation means to relinquish the essence of unhiddenness. the difference). one thinks of all beings according to "ideas" and evaluates all reality according to "values." or in any kind of "subjectivity.place -.] 12 13 First edition. In all such attempts. 1947: "z!8Zhg4" is a name for esse. thinking and asserting. in the light of the established essence of truth.

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